Trends in Tech Patent Litigation

Intellectual property

A study of patent litigation in the high tech arena reveals what types of plaintiffs initiate litigation the most frequent types of lawsuits. This helps to predict the risks of patent infringement and the need for patent infringement insurance. It is important to note that patent infringement is not normally covered under a typical tech Professional Liability endorsement for intellectual property insurance. Therefore, a stand-alone policy must be purchased for patent infringement insurance.

The study was limited to high tech patents, including those in the fields of hardware, software, and financial inventions. The hardware category includes digital chip and memory processing, design and architecture, as well as semiconductor tech. Software includes cryptography, graphics, database design, software development, and user interface. Financial patents include those in the area of business modeling, projections, processes, management, and cost control.

The types of plaintiffs studied include NPE’s, Predation, Sport of Kings, Litigation Avoidance/Patent Detente, and David vs. Goliath. NPE’s are corporate entities that hold patents but don’t actually use them for commercial purposes other than to trip up mature businesses that may have actually used infringing technologies for their own commercial applications. Predation refers to the use of patent litigation strategies by leading companies to wear down their smaller competitors. Sport of Kings refers to patent warfare between large companies. Litigation Avoidance/Patent Detente refers to a strategy of building a portfolio of patents to deter litigation from competitors. David vs Goliath refers to litigation by small individuals against large corporations.

Source: Reshika Dhir (IPilogue Editor) on Colleen V. Chien, Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University School Of Law, “Of Trolls, Davids, Goliaths, and Kings: Narratives and Evidence in the Litigation of High Tech Patents”

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